August 16, 2019

Assamese Women Filmmakers Fested at the 66th National Film Awards

The flag of the Assamese film industry has been held aloft by three strikingly independent women filmmakers – Rima Das, Manju Borah and Bobby Sarma Baruah, who were recognised for their sterling works at the recently announced 66th National Film Awards, making the people of Assam proud. 

The much decorated filmmaker Rima Das, whose films have been making an enormous impact internationally, has added another feather in her cap, as her much acclaimed ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ has bagged the Rajat Kamal Award as the Best Assamese Film at the National Film Awards. Earlier, the film, produced under the banner of Flying River Films, was adjudged the ‘Best Indie Film’ at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2019, in Australia.

On the other hand, Manju Borah’s ‘In The Land of Poison Women’, produced under the banner of AAAS Productions Pvt. Ltd., has bagged the Rajat Kamal as the Best Pangchenpa Film. Bobby Sarma Baruah’s suspense thriller ‘Mishing’, produced by Sulakhyana Baruah and co-produced by Basanta Kumar Baruah and Bobby Sarma Baruah under the banner of BB Entertainment Trade Pvt. Ltd., has bagged the Rajat Kamal Award as the Best Feature Film in Sherdukpen.

‘Bulbul Can Sing’ had already won several accolades and screened in many national and international film festivals such as Toronto International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Osaka Asian Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, among others.

Shot in the stunning setting of her village Chayygaon in Assam, Rima Das’s film is a moving drama about coming of age, sexuality and personal identity.

It’s quite amazing and heartening at the same time that a film based in a small village in Assam, India, is winning hearts in various parts of the world.

The third Assamese feature of writer-director-producer Rima Das, who has multitasked here as director, writer, editor and cinematographer - to name just a handful of her responsibilities, the film follows up the wonderful ‘Village Rockstars’ with another powerful story of a young woman fighting to be independent whilst under the scrutiny of Assamese tradition.

Manju Bora’s ‘In The Land of Poison Women’, which is based on distinguished litterateur Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi’s much acclaimed work, depicts an individual’s effort to break the myth of ‘poison women’ in a remote part of Arunachal Pradesh. The superstitious belief has taken a toll on the girls and women of the Pangchenpa community. 

Bobby Sarma Baruah’s ‘Mishing’, based yet again on a much-admired work by Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, explores the myths and legends of the Sherdukpen community in Arunachal Pradesh, while it makes an earnest attempt to preserve its dialect, which is on the verge of extinction.

The 66th National Film Awards were announced by Rahul Rawail (chairperson, feature film category), AS Kanal (chairperson, non-feature film category) and Utpal Borpujari (chairperson, best writing on cinema). The chairpersons and other jury members submitted the report on the 66th National Film Awards to Union minister Prakash Javadekar.

Prantik Deka.

August 5, 2019

Puppet Play ‘Praisitta’ Impresses Everyone

Puppetry’s growing popularity and appeal in the country and indeed, Assam, augurs truly well for this ancient art form. Recently, a puppetry play performed on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, was thoroughly enjoyed by the young and the adults alike, at the Guwahati District Library. The half-hour glove puppetry play in Hindi called ‘Praisitta’, presented by the students of Guwahati-based cultural institution Surojit Academy, was graced by eminent guests Santanu Bharali, who is the legal advisor to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Bishnu Kamal Borah, Director, Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Assam, and Rajeev Baruah, Station Director, All India Radio, Guwahati, among others.

The play, written and directed by Binita Devi, showed some memorable incidents from Mahatma Gandhi’s childhood, which were enjoyed to the hilt by the audiences, who were intrigued by the depth and the intricacy of the puppeteers, led from the front by Binita Devi, who has contributed much in creating awareness of this art form.

Her influence and the influence of the artistes she draws to her institute has been adding significantly to the training and growth of her students. She along with her husband Simanta Sarma have been presenting their works at a range of theatres and festivals in the state and other parts of the country.

The glove puppets, used in the play ‘Praisitta’, were manipulated and maneuvered by Anita Devi, Hridayjyoti Das, Simanta Sarma, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Hardik Sarma, Gitima Das and Pranabjyoti Rabha. It was heartening to see a number of children, students from universities and colleges from across the state, in addition to researchers, educationists, artistes, litterateurs, connoisseurs of art, among others, attending the play. The voice to the childhood character of Mahatma Gandhi was suitably rendered by Hardik Sarma.

Binita Devi, who is a Tagore National Research Scholar from the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, and a Junior Fellowship Awardee from the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi,  and her husband Simanta Sarma has been imparting training in glove puppetry to a number of pupils from all over the State at their institute Surojit Academy, which is registered under the Regional Outreach Bureau, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Govt of India, and is empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Govt. of India & Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India. It has always been the primary objective of their cultural institution to promote and create awareness of this vanishing art form.

The audiences were also treated to Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s well-known play ‘Lotkan’, which was dramatised and directed by Simanta Sarma, and featured the acting talents of Hardik Sarma, Jiten Boro, Hemen Senapati, Hridayjyoti Das, Pranabjyoti Rabha, Dhrubajyoti Das, Karismita Das, Gitima Das, Thawardip Raichoudhury, Krishanu Sarma and Himakshi Das.

Prantik Deka

August 4, 2019

Wildlife Warrior Manoj Gogoi Receives ‘India Star Passion Award 2019’

Manoj Gogoi, a tourist guide-turned-animal rescuer from Assam, has received the prestigious ‘India Star Passion Award 2019’ for social service (environment).

The award recognizes Gogoi’s efforts in rescuing animals in and around Kaziranga National Park for the past several years. As per some estimates, he has rescued over 5,000 animals since 2005.

Along with him, six others from Assam have won the award so far in various disciplines. Gogoi will receive a certificate, a medal and a badge for his efforts.

India Star Passion Award 2019 is an online event and all record holders, social workers, collectors, organisation, association, NGO, journalism, education, artists, services, dancers, writers, poets, musicians, film stars, police, teachers, sports, instructors, astrologers, scientists, politicians, doctors, etc, can apply for this award.

Hailing from Bochagaon village in Kaziranga, Assam, Gogoi has lived in close proximity to wild animals all his life. After working as a tourist cab driver and then as a tourist guide for Iora Resort in Kaziranga till 2013, he decided to become a full-fledged environmentalist after a chance meeting with Kedar Gore, director, Corbett Foundation, where he got associated.

In 2014, the Corbett Foundation awarded him with the title – ‘Wildlife Warrior’. He has also set up an NGO called ‘Naturalist for Rehabilitation of Snakes and Birds’ (NRSB) with the local youths.

Apart from rescuing animals, Gogoi also spreads awareness about the importance of the conservation of snakes in nearby villages.

Prantik Deka

July 4, 2019

Noted Dancer Anjana Moyee Saikia Conferred on Jayadeva Rastriya Puraskar

National Culture Mission under the aegis of  Department of Culture, Odisha Govt., had successfully organised a festival - Sri Jayadeva Rastriya Samaroh and Naveen Kalakar (National Classical Dance Festival and Talent Search Programme), which took place at the Bhanja Kala Mandap, Bhubaneswar, Odisha from June 5 to 9. The festival, which started several years back as a showcase for the country’s various classical dance forms, has evolved as one of the major cultural events of the year.

On the occasion, Sri Jayadeva Rastriya Puraskar has been conferred on Dr Anjana Moyee Saikia of Guwahati for her contribution towards the Sattriya Dance form of Assam. The other awardees in different disciplines were Bhubaneswar’s Manoranjan Pradhan (Sri Jayadeva Rastriya Sanman), Bhubaneswar’s Minati Pradhan (Padmabati Prativa Puraskara), Bhubaneswar’s Dr Sangita Gosain (Geet Gobinda Sanman), Pune’s Shumita Mahajan (Sri Jayadeva Rastriya Sanman), Vishakhapatnam’s Vikaram Gaud Bathina (Sri Jayadeva Award of Excellence), etc.

The festival turned out to be a grand celebration of various cultures, which, in turn, paved the way for the audiences to familiarise themselves with the rich cultural diversity of India. There were around 200 dancers and musicians from various parts of India, who made their presences felt at the festival. 

The much acclaimed dancer Dr. Anjana Moyee Saikia, a disciple of Padmashree, Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora, presented a series of Sattriya recitals that began with an invocation to Lord Krishna, followed by pure dances and abhinaya.

The festival, inaugurated by Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister of Tourism & Culture, Government of Odisha, was also attended by Manoranjan Panigrahi, IRS, Principal Secretary to Govt., Odia Language, Literature and Culture Department, as the Chief Guest, Dr Jayashree Bala Mallick, HOD, Department of Sanskrit, as the Guest of Honour, Biju Patnaik, Degree College, Bhubaneswar, etc, and it was presided over by the festival chairman Dr S K Tamotia, who is a former CMD Nalco.

Dr. Anjana Moyee Saikia is now all set to participate in the 40th Assam Convention, an annual event hosted in North America, which will be taking place in Vancouver, Canada, from July 5 to 7, 2019, under the aegis of ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India. She has been invited to perform Sattriya and Odissi dance forms during the three day convention. The other artists who have been invited for the event are renowned mime artiste Moinul Haque, popular singers Zubeen Garg, Kalpana Patowary, Madhusmita Bhattacharya, etc.

Prantik Deka

July 2, 2019

Silver Jubilee Celebrations of ‘Limelight Film Directory’

It was in the fall of 1996 that the first film directory of the Northeast – ‘Limelight Film Directory’, was formally released in a function held at the office premises of ‘Roopkar’ in Pubsarania, Guwahati. The book, published by Sishu-Sashi Prakashan, really filled a long-standing need. Edited and compiled by Arunlochan Das, who has been a cine-journalist since the mid-seventies, the first edition of the ‘Limelight Film Directory’ was released by popular actor Biju Phukan. The function, which commenced with the lighting of the traditional lamp by the Best Actor winning artiste of Locarno International Film Festival, Indra Bania, consequently marked the launch of the publishing banner Sishu-Sashi Prakashan, which was dedicated to the memory of Arunlochan Das’s parents, and which features Jonali Das as its publisher. 

We have our own appropriate addresses now,” a contented Bania then told during his speech in the function, which was presided by the Principal of North Gauhati College and noted litterateur, Dr Bhrigu Mohan Goswami.

A lot of headway has been made in putting together the upcoming ‘Limelight Film Directory’ for the years 2020-21, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. No stones have been left unturned to make this special edition as complete and unique for the readers as possible. This time, the directory will feature several facts and informations behind the making of Deuti Barua’s Assamese classic ‘Brishti’ (1975). 

It will be quite a treat for the readers to go through the film’s story, lyrics, comments from its artistes and technicians, accompanied by some rare still-photographs, etc. In addition to the complete lists of films made in the tribal languages, there will also be short biographies on eminent artistes associated with art and culture in the segment ‘Kola Tirtha’. Artistes and technicians (including those whose phone numbers and addresses have changed) are hereby requested to send in their proper addresses, phone numbers and photographs to the following address : Arunlochan Das, Limelight, Swati Enclave, House No. 50, Third Floor, 3-C, Rajgarh Link Road, Anil Nagar, Guwahati - 781007. Mobile Nos. - 99541-47133.

Prantik Deka

July 1, 2019

‘Letters from Deuta’: Assamese Short Film Released @ YouTube

Letters from Deuta’, an acclaimed Assamese short film depicting the emotional relationship between father and daughter, was released on YouTube on the occasion of International Father’s Day, recently.

The film is written and directed by Arunjit Borah and produced by Gopal Jalan, under the banner of Jalan Films, in association with Camphor Media Solutions.

It’s a simple film that revolves around a bunch of letters a father wrote before his death to his daughter when she was barely 10 years old. The story deals with how these letters become the guiding light for his daughter in different phases of her life. We all know daughters have a very special relationship with fathers. My film focuses on this relationship in a very simple and straightforward way,” said Bora, whose first film ‘Taxii’ was released on International Women’s Day in April this year.

The film is about the emotional journey of a daughter and her father through the letters preserved. It is a story that shows that life can prove to be the best journey if you master the art of living. The film also showcases a brief line on cancer that has been claiming lives of so many people and the efforts put in by the doctors in a quest to find a cure to it.

In the film, I tried to show how each letter makes the father’s presence felt in each phase of the daughter’s life. I have tried to show how the father, though he is dead, is a constant presence in his daughter’s life,” said the filmmaker. ‘Letters from Deuta’ has been shot with artistes Namita Bharali and Monuj Borkotoky playing the leading characters, in Mumbai.

Prantik Deka

June 28, 2019

Video Song ‘Sadiya’ Released

The Assamese video song ‘Sadiya’ was released by Dhwani records in Guwahati, today.

The song is composed and sung by Kaushik Kashyap, a Mumbai based singer who originally hails from Dibrugarh in eastern Assam.

The song ‘Sadiya’ is a unique blend of folk fusion which showcases the rich history and culture of Sadiya.

Sadiya is an unexplored tourism hot-spot and the video song touches the important places which could become a tourist hub.

The main intention of the video song is to highlight the rich cultural heritage of Sadiya.

This is the debut Assamese video song of Kaushik. The song is produced by Gentle Breeze Creations in association with Subhalakhi Chetia.

The music production of the song is done by Bibhuti Gogoi and the song is mixed and mastered by Utpal Sharma.

Prantik Deka

June 26, 2019

Bishnu Rabha Award 2019 Conferred on Kumari Laitjonam Ebampisok Devi & Reba Kanta Mahanta

The eminent Manipuri dance exponent Kumari Laitjonam Ebampisok Devi and renowned mask artisan Reba Kanta Mahanta were confered with the Bishnu Rabha Award 2019 by the state Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a befittingly held Bishnu Rabha Divas programme, which was organised by the State Cultural Directorate and Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council at the Tahsil Maidan in Rangjuli under Goalpara district, on June 20.

The award carries a cash amount of Rs 2 lakh, a certificate and an angavastra.

Born on April 19, 1935, Reba Kanta Mahanta, who has earned wide popularity and reputation in Sattriya dance, Ankiya Bhaona, Khol playing and Nam Prasanga, has been working indefatigably to develop and preserve the traditional art of mask-making in the state. His masks have been procured by distinguished museums for display like the Indian Museum, Kolkata; National Museum, Washington, U.S.A; and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. In 1989, he participated in the National Exhibition and Workshop on Masks organized by the Crafts Council of India. The masks prepared by him during the workshop were procured for display in the national museums of Russia and Japan. Assam received the second position for the tableau designed by Mahanta in the Republic Day Parade of 2003. The theme of the tableau was based on the mask-making traditions of Assam. Hailing from Sivasagar district, Reba Kanta Mahanta, who has created over 4,000 masks, was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2014.

On the other hand, Manipuri dancer Laitjonam Devi has enthralled the audiences with her various folk dances like Eswai Nritya, Krishna Nritya, Moirangsai Nritya, Nimai Sanyasi, Yogi Bhesh, Rasleela Nritya, Naitam Nritya and others. She was conferred with the gold medal by the Manipur government in 1990, Tombi Devi gold medal in 1990, the gold medal of Manipur Sahitya Parishad in 1998, besides receiving many other awards and certificates for her contribution in the field of dance. The dancer has also been enlisted under the Silpi Pension of the Assam government.

The cultural programme, held to commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Kalaguru Bishnu Prashad Rabha, also saw the felicitation of eight well-known persons for their contribution to arts, literature, culture, sports, etc.
“Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha shaped the greater Assamese identity and worked tirelessly to establish Assamese culture at the world stage. His creations reflected folk culture and traditions of diverse ethnic groups of the State and he cemented the bond between these diverse groups while enriching the Assamese cultural landscape,” the Chief Minister said on the occasion.

Stating that only through awakening the artistic instincts within oneself could lead a person to attain a truly peaceful life, Sonowal said that Bishnu Rabha propagated a humanistic outlook of living much like Srimanta Sankaradeva, and that the young generation must be made aware about the teachings of those great personalities by teachers and parents to establish a society based on human values.

Calling for unity among all sections of people in the State, Sonowal urged the young generation to herald a new era of peace and development following the ideals of Bishnu Rabha and make Assam one of the best States in the country by working cohesively to achieve rapid economic development.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Cultural Affairs Naba Kumar Doley said that the endeavour of Bishnu Rabha to break the societal divides and fight for the oppressed sections of society while bringing societal reformation must be emulated by all. Rabha’s life was a glowing example how art and culture could strengthen the bond of unity among the people of the State and galvanize them to strive for the State’s development, he added.

Media adviser to the Chief Minister, Hrishikesh Goswami said Rabha revolted against all wrongs in society and he always acted as a strong voice for the weak and oppressed sections. Rabha brought about social reformation through his artistic works and the young generation must follow the ideals of this great thinker and activist to take Assam to greater heights, he said.

Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council CEM Tankeswar Rabha and Dudhnoi MLA Dipak Rabha also spoke on the occasion.

Prantik Deka

June 22, 2019

Times Music Acquires Music Rights For Zubeen Garg’s Next Film ‘Kanchanjangha’

After the colossal success of ‘Mission China’ (2017), Zubeen Garg is ready to climb higher with his new and third directorial venture-  ‘Kanchanjangha’. Times Music is glad to announce that the company has acquired all music rights for the film.

Zubeen Garg is known to deep-dive into contemporary issues and his forte lies in how sensitively he is able to present them to the public. His films are known to not only offer a perspective, but also to make people think and question the real issues at hand.

Kanchanjangha’ deals with certain social and political contradictions, which jeopardize the aspirations of the youth. Pinky Sharma, Dhritiman Phukan, Sasanka Samir, Pabitra Rabha are a few among  many stars, who have come to join Zubeen Garg in the film.

Kanchanjangha is a mainstream approach to deal with a few fundamental issues and seeks for a radical transformation in order to attain democratic rights and benefits supposed to be accessible by all its subjects. Delighted to have a reputed international label like Times Music on board with us,” said Zubeen Garg.

To associate with a film that challenges the status-quo and talks about the existing problems at hand, makes it an interesting project altogether. Assam is a land of great culture, music and Zubeen Garg is a master at his art. Times Music is glad to be associated with the film,” said Mandar Thakur, COO, Times Music .

All music rights of the Assamese film ‘Kanchanjangha’ exclusively lie with Times Music. Full album of the film releases on 20th June 2019 countrywide and will be available for you to stream on all music stores. The film is scheduled to release on 6th September 2019.

Teaser of ‘Kanchanjangha’ is now available for you to watch on Times Music Assamese YouTube channel.

June 21, 2019

Fellowship to Eminent Assamese Actress Chetana Das

Veteran Assamese actress and theatre personality Chetana Das has been selected for a prestigious senior fellowship (2018-19) by the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Das has been awarded the fellowship in the field of folk theatre.

The two-year fellowship, effective from June 1 this year, is given in the field of folk, traditional and indigenous arts. The project reports are used for reference, research and educational purposes.

Reiterating her pledge to promote the rich folk tradition and folk culture of Assam, Das said that she has been working to keep alive the rich traditions of different tribes and communities of the State, especially the songs, customs and traditions which are on the verge of extinction.

From our songs to customs and folklores, Assam has a vivid and rich folk culture that needs to be revived and preserved. The younger generations should specially be told about the traditions prevalent on both banks of the Brahmaputra. I wish, in the form of folk theatre, the culture and heritage of different communities of Assam would be taken to places apart from enriching the cultural sphere of the State,” she added.

Prantik Deka

June 20, 2019

Artist’s World Record Bid with Huge Painting

Sirumoni Doley, a 28-year-old artist of Jorabat attempted a world record by making a painting with his nose to spread the message ‘Save Rhino’.

Doley, who hails from a poor family, painted a 1400.01-square-foot oil painting on a canvas with his nose at the Radiant International School, Sonapur.

Initially, Doley was supposed to attempt painting a 1200-square-foot canvas, but his ‘will’ and love from his supporters encouraged him to pitch for a massive 1400-square-foot oil painting with his nose. It took 7 hours and 52 minutes to complete the painting.

The love and support of the people of Dimoria and Assam is the sole reason that encouraged me to make an attempt for this unbelievable record. We will be applying for the Asia Books of Records and Guinness Book of Records and I hope everything goes well for me to register my name among the records,” Doley said.'

The painting, along with other related costs that came to about Rs 4.5 lakh, was funded by Radiant International School and a few industrialists of the region to support the mission ‘Save Rhino’.

Prantik Deka

June 17, 2019

‘The Man Who Speaks Nature’ Bags Best Film Award at Hungary

Assam filmmaker Dhritiman Kakati’s short documentary film ‘The Man Who Speaks Nature’ has bagged the Best Film Award at the 5th International Nature Film Festival Godollo in Hungary.

The film festival was held from May 23 to May 27 at Godollo, a town located about 30 kilometres from Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.

The documentary provides a glimpse into the life and work of Manoj Gogoi, a conservationist based in Kaziranga, who has dedicated his life towards the rescue and rehabilitation of snakes and birds in particular. The movie also attempts to seek the reasons behind his plunge into conservation work and exhibits a peek into the daily work schedule of Gogoi that comes with being a self-styled naturalist known to have rescued and rehabilitated over 4000 species of flora and fauna. The main persons behind the short documentary film are Dhritiman Kakati, Raktim Hazarika and Prabal Bora.

While Dhritiman has directed and written the documentary, the editing work has been done by Raktim and the promotional work by Prabal.

Son of Bokakhat residents, Alakananda Kakati and Gayatri Bora Kakati, Dhritiman is also a student of journalism and mass communication.

‘The Man Who Speaks Nature’ had earlier been screened in many prestigious film festivals.

Prantik Deka.